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Tabin, J.K. (1995). A Bit More Light on Ferenczi and Freud. Psychoanal. Psychol., 12(2):305-315.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 12(2):305-315

Special Section: Sndor Ferenczi

A Bit More Light on Ferenczi and Freud

Johanna Krout Tabin, Ph.D.

In a recent article on Freud's motivation for rethinking his seduction theory, I (Tabin, 1993) briefly referred to Ferenczi. Aron and Frankel (1994), however, being particularly interested in Ferenczi, expanded on what I said from a different point of view. They stressed three issued that involve Ferenczi in this part of psychoanalytic history. I agree that it is worthwhile to explore these issues further. In doing so, I have been stimulated to bring together information that I believe has not been described previously in one account. I present material from the literature that (a) confirms Freud's priority in citing the relationship between splitting of the ego and childhood sexual trauma; (b) describes signs of considerable emotional difficulty on the part of Ferenczi during the last period of his life; and (c) shows that Freud's referring to Ferenczi as paranoid was a reaction to Ferenczi's hostility to him, significantly predating their public theoretical differences. An important aspect of the last matter is Ferenczi's explanation of his hostility: Freud never helped him with the negative transference that underlay his idealization of Freud. Freud defended himself by saying that negative transference was not understood when he treated Ferenczi. Nonetheless, the truth of this must have affected Freud because without mentioning names, he (1937) included a recognizable (and defensive) account of it years later in “Analysis Terminable and Interminable.” The fundamental bond between the two men remained strong. Aron and Frankel correctly stated that we agree it is a mistake to view Freud and Ferenczi as opponents.

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